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Anette & Greta – Finding Your True Self in Your 30’s

Sonja Siikanen photography Turku Finland Northern Europe lesbian gay trans queer love Dancing With Her magazine (1)

It’s been a journey. From Greta‘s divorce from a man to finding love and her sexuality in her 30’s. All while caring for four children.

How do you meet other queer women in Finland?

We met in Turku, Finland. Greta was not so convinced of the Tinder app that we all know. But Greta’s very dear friend talked her into it. Greatly encouragingly, she repeatedly said, “You have got to give life a chance!”. And later that same day, the messaging with Anette started. Right from the first written words, the messaging felt very special in some unexplainable way. Due to Greta’s brave mindset and hot summery feeling, we decided to meet each other just two days later. 

Without any great expectations, we met by the Aura-river, in the heart of Turku. The riverbank is a trendy area, especially in the summertime, with various coffee houses, riverboat restaurants, and great terraces. We met at the very beginning of a beautiful and warm evening. 

A: This sounds a bit cheesy, but I think I’ll never forget the moment I looked up from my phone, and she was in front of my eyes for the very first time. I got so startled, and I’m pretty sure my heart actually skipped a few beats. Her presence was so bright and powerful. I strongly felt the need to just be near her. The attraction in our eye contact was mutual, and the conversation just floated so effortlessly. We talked hours after hours. The evening got darker, and the first kiss took us both to surprising depths.

What is your favorite memory together?

A: I find this question quite tricky. I don’t want to sound too sugary, but oh, I have so many. One I would like to mention separately is one stormy evening in the middle of the summer. We were in that lovely phase of just getting to know each other, and we were hanging out at my apartment in the very center of Turku. Suddenly Greta said that we must go out and feel the power of the fierce weather. It just stopped raining when we got out, and we headed to the river bank.

In front of some extensive terraces located at the promenade, Greta wondered how fun it would be to walk barefooted in the huge puddles of rainwater that floated in the walking aisle by the river. Before I had time to consider, Greta was already there. I remember just looking at that gorgeous and laughing girl in front of me, just doing her thing, being beautiful, feeling light and free. That moment was the first time when I thought that with that person, I could do anything.

G: It was beautiful to reminisce the moments we have shared. The first memory that came into my mind as an extraordinary one was our third date. In a spur of a moment, we decided to head to Särkänniemi. Särkänniemi is an amusement park located in Tampere. By car, the trip took a couple of hours. I think we both had the same thought in our heads as we started the car. Are we really going to do this?! 

That day trip together was very meaningful to me. Anette was driving, and I sat beside her. We just talked about everything imaginable, and it also felt natural just to be quiet. When we got to the amusement park, we encouraged each other to go a bit crazy. We both got lost in the exhilarating feeling of going beyond our comfort zones and just had pure fun. It was amazing! It was an earth-shattering feeling to realize that I can have fun with this person. Be me as I let loose, and when I need peace and quiet. Anette was the best company imaginable on every moment of that day, and I felt deep peace while being in her presence. At dusk of that day, I dared to admit to myself that I might be falling for this person. 

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

We both have had some challenging things in our past. Different things, not similar by far, but some things, that were not easy to overcome. Those things have left their marks on us. Some of those are deep; some of them have faded to the past. Marks left can barely be seen by the human eye. 

Learning how to fully open these locks in our past lives and in our behavioral patterns has been the biggest challenge in merging our paths together.

We are nearly the same age, but our lives have been very different. To make things work requires a lot of communication and pure will to understand one and other. We must be capable of looking at things from others’ viewpoints. These are essential things in every relationship, but the meaning of these matters is heightened in our case. Having the kids as a part of our lives brings some challenges, even though everything considering them has gone along wonderfully. Each of them is an individual and important family member, and their needs always come first.

Tell us your favorite thing about one another.

A: The wild, wise, loving, and beautiful personality. 

G: Anette is an excellent company for absolutely everything – with her, I can talk about deep and sensitive matters, be quiet or laugh my head off. I love her blue eyes sparkling with laughter and her adventurous spirit. What’s also best is that you can totally be yourself with her and know that she will stay by your side, ready for everything imaginable. She also has the same passion for life as I do and is prepared to experience new things. Anette wants to develop our relationship further and is there as a bonus grown-up for my children. It is challenging to pick just one thing when someone is so much for me. 

What’s in the future for you both?

Loads of love. Good and steady everyday life. Various adventures. Some between us two, and some together with the kids. The relationships in our new family, formed and forged by our own perceptions of life, deepen day by day, and every day we get to know each other better and better. 

What advice to do you have for others who might feel a little lost?

Life can sometimes surprise you, even though it seems impossible. Even when you feel that you have nowhere to turn, it rarely is quite so. Greta’s life has changed entirely during the last two years. Before that, it seemed utterly impossible to get to live genuinely as your own self, and the fear of getting by after a divorce was strongly present. It was a grand and right decision to go ahead with the divorce when she wholeheartedly realized that she is a lesbian. The possibility to continue the marriage as a friend and companion-based agreement would’ve been the wrong road. 

We are both in our mid-thirties and couldn’t even imagine that it would feel this good just to be together before we met. We want to encourage everybody just to dare. Dare to dream and listen to your heart!

Photography by Sonja Siikanen

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